If we're being entirely honest, the Disney live-action-remakes have a stigma about them. Though they try to pull on our heartstrings by stirring up memories of the original animated classics, they have the habit of coming off as hit or miss. When they miss, they really miss. But when they hit, it's out of the park.
Despite their reputation, there are actually many Disney live-action flicks we enjoy. They're not perfect by any means, but it is a rare occasion, though not impossible, that we find a remake we genuinely despise. Here are just a few examples of Disney remakes going right and wrong.
10 Wrong: Mary Poppins' Villainous Banker
Though technically not a remake, we are including this on our list for mainly one major factor. Mary Poppins Returns would have been an almost entirely satisfying sequel to a perfect Disney flick if it wasn't for its antagonist. It's not that we wouldn't want to see Mary Poppins square off against anyone, but was this guy really needed to make a second Mary Poppins Movie?
Wilkins is not only unneeded but blatantly obvious and overplayed as well. Honestly, it just feels more like an excuse to have Collin Firth in the movie. The original didn't need a villain, and quite frankly, neither did this one.
9 Right: The Lion Sleeps Tonight
The 2019 remake of the animated classic, The Lion King, features one of the most random and spontaneous musical numbers ever put to a Disney flick. It's the moment where Timon and Pumbaa are joined by a chorus of African animals in a sudden rendition of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and we absolutely love it.
Yes, it's weird, it comes out of nowhere and has no way to further the plot, and is basically just something goofy to grab younger audiences, but we can't help but laugh and admire the sheer absurdity of the entire thing. It's not Hamlet by any means, but we can't say we don't like it.
8 Wrong: Alice's Maddening Plot
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland should have been the greatest adaptation of Lewis Carrol's famous fantasy. It had the perfect director, the perfect cast, the perfect design, and the perfect visuals. Then we got the hodgepodge script that threw the classic right down the tubes. What happened here, Disney?
While it does have many interesting designs and performance elements, the absolutely everywhere plot of political uprising and warring kingdoms does not fit with what the original was trying to present. And the sequel wasn't any better, despite a splendid Sacha Baron Cohen appearance. The writers were definitely off their heads on this one.
7 Right: Lady and the Tramp's Iconic Scene
One of Disney+'s first original feature films, their remake of Lady and the Tramp might have a few bizarre changes here and there, but it still has a lot of warm and fuzzy elements we absolutely adore. But if it's one thing the filmmakers absolutely had to do 100% correctly, it's that famous spaghetti number.
Needless to say, 2019's "Bella Note" is just as charming as the original with a little extra warmth thrown in for good measure. It's the one scene everyone recognizes, and the live-action version is a near-perfect representation of the animated original. From the music to the staging, it's unforgettable even for a remake.
6 Wrong: Scar's Restrained Performance
Even before the film released, Scar was walking a tightrope with the number of changes Favreau's team put him through. We love his design and we're very thankful we got "Be Prepared" at all, but the biggest problem we had was the delivery of his performance.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is a very gifted and trained actor of stage and screen, but he feels so restrained as one of Disney's best villains. In the first half, he's absolutely evil but then shifts to kind of a brat before the film ends. Scar was a total diva at times, but this just feels like a half-way portrayal that should have been full-force.
5 Right: Beauty and the Beast's Designs
Beauty and the Beast's live-action remake wasn't exactly on point with a few of its choices, but it's not the hideous beast everyone else makes it out to be. What the film does better than anything else is its design and presentation of its enchanted world. Belle's village feels like the charming setting scene in every fairytale, but its the Beast's castle where the designs truly shine.
When a portion of your cast is enchanted furniture, it helps to look dashing. From the gargoyles and the spiked towers to the grand ballroom and that oh-so-famous library, the Cocteau-inspired visuals and designs truly make it stand apart from the animated classic.
4 Wrong: Pooh's Dead Stare
Christopher Robin isn't a bad film, it's actually quite warm and fuzzy once you get past the absolutely bizarre designs of the anthropomorphic cast. Despite what all the film does right, it majorly screws up the most important element of any film inspired by the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and that's Pooh himself.
In lack of a better phrase, Pooh looks dead. His black button eyes are soulless, unblinking and always fixed in the exact same spot. If it wasn't for Jim Cummings giving the performance of his life, we'd say Pooh was one of Disney's creepiest CGI creations ever made.
3 Right: Burton's Dumbo Direction
Alice in Wonderland, despite its interesting and whimsical designs, was not Burton's best moment. However, Dumbo might be his saving grace. It's no Nightmare Before Christmas, but it's definitely a story that allows the prolific and eccentric director to do what he does best.
Being one of the shortest original Disney movies, Dumbo leaves a lot of wiggle room to experiment, and no one experiments better than Tim Burton. The circus setting was absolutely begging for him to step in and give it life. Despite a few cardboard performances from the child actors, the film is able to fly with the best of them.
2 Wrong: Pete's Dragon
Okay, we've really tried to play nice with this film. Honestly, we did. But aside from the mossy monstrosity that is Eliot, there is no other connection with the original film at all in this disaster-piece. Aside from the names of its two leading characters, this is an entirely different movie.
There's no charming little lighthouse, no quirky villagers, and no catchy song about dragon's liver. This isn't just a bad remake, but as far away from the inspiration as a film can possibly get and an insult to fans of the original musical classic. The remake might have had good press, but it's a far cry away from a classic.
1 Right: Glen Close as Cruella De Vil
Before Angelina Jolie stepped into the horns of Maleficent, the perfect live-action Disney character was Glen Close as Cruella De Vil in the original live-action Disney remake, 101 Dalmatians. This film saw a more modern take on the canine classic, but the one thing everyone remembers is Cruella De Vil.
Glen Close practically devours the film with how much scenery she chews while she's on screen. Her portrayal of the freaky fur-obsessed fashion designer is positively outrageous. From her sinister smile to her fiendish cackle, Close absolutely becomes Cruella in this '90s classic. Her performance is just as infectious as it is diabolical.